We decided to take a day and go to South Padre Island. We had spent a month there back in February of 2006 and we had also been back to there last year when we were in Texas. It is such a beautiful place. Nothing like east coast beaches which are so developed and over-populated. Padre Island is the longest barrier island in the world. It stretches along the Texas coast from Port Aransas to the Mexican border. Between the island and the mainland is the Laguna Madre which means "mother lagoon." The Laguna Madre is 5 times saltier than the ocean due to the fact that no rivers run into it and it relies solely on rain water. It serves as a massive wildlife refuge. The town of South Padre Island sits at the southern tip of the island at the mouth of the Rio Grande River. On the mainland is Port Isabel where a causeway connects to the island.
Before we headed across the causeway, we stopped and had a delicious seafood lunch at Pirate's Landing. I swiped the photo above and below from their website. The views are from their pier.
The photo above is taken from our table looking out at the causeway.
If you click on the photo above to enlarge it, you can read the historical marker.
Below is a photo taken from the causeway looking up the island. The tallest skyscraper you see in the photo is one which is actually being torn down. It was a condo tower that was under construction when a hurricane Dolly did a direct hit to South Padre on July 23, 2008 with 100 MPH winds and hurricane Ike hit Sept. 13, 2008. Even though Ike hit Galveston, it was so huge that South Padre Island suffered a one, two punch. When we were here last year just four months after the second hurricane, the condo tower was showing the damage. This year, they are in the process of having a liquidation sale and tearing the items out and it appears the tower is in the process of being torn-down as they liquidate all that they can from the construction.
The photo above is looking at the southern tip of the island. The twin towers are the right are the Sheraton Hotel and Condos.
Looking out at the Gulf of Mexico from one of the beach access areas. We did not get out on the beach this time because there was red tide (an algae bloom that can cause severe respiratory problems in both people and dogs). Instead we drove north till the road ended and just looked at the desolate dunes.
Then we came back south to the just opened Birding Center which is on the Laguna Madre side of the island. Below is a photo of the birding center building.
The next couple of photos are taken from the top of the tower of the birding center. They are looking out over the boardwalks, blinds, and wetlands that are all part of the birding center which is still under construction. The ponds you see are freshwater ponds from rainwater and the discharge from the sewage plant next door. They planned it that way (even though the smell is quite offensive) and even have a resident alligator who lives in the fresh water ponds. In all these photos you are looking toward the Laguna Madre and I included photos of some of the birds we saw.
In the next photo we are out at the edge of the Laguna Madre and we are looking back across the wetlands to the Birding Center.
Right outside the Birding Center while driving, we came across this Osprey (fish eagle, common name) sitting on the power line along the road. He was something to see fly as he circled and changed from having his back to us to facing us.
At dusk, we started for home. The views below are as we headed back over the long causeway toward Port Isabel. You can see the lighthouse sticking up and as we got closer to the mainland, you can see a good view of Pirate's Landing where our visit began with lunch.
We start our volunteer work with the Birding Center right by our campground on Tuesday morning. The National Birding Center is a collection of 8 different sites here in the Rio Grande Valley. The headquarters for all eight sites is where we will be volunteering at the Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park. Hopefully we will get some photos of some of the unual birds we are seeing and also the baby javalinas before they grow up! Stop back and check in often.
- Nada and Doug
- Welcome to the travels of Doug and Nada. We love the Lord and are traveling full-time in our motorhome with our German Shepherd, Homer. Homer is the star attraction wherever we stop and he gets us talking and sharing with many people. DON'T FORGET: YOU CAN ENLARGE EACH PHOTO BY CLICKING ON THE PHOTO! The newest blog post is at the top and they go back in time as you scroll down. If you want to see each photo larger, you can just click on the photo and it will enlarge. If you decide to leave a comment, don't forget to sign it so we know who left it. ;-) Folks: This site is under continual construction as we travel and see this beautiful country. Check back for more updates and photos. Thanks for visiting with us! May God bless your day!